Turkish red pepper paste

Turkish red pepper paste

By
From
New Feast
Makes
350g
Photographer
Alan Benson

We first encountered this incredibly moreish pepper paste in a small pide restaurant on our first trip to Istanbul.

The first thing to arrive on the table was a small pot of spicy red pepper paste, a dish of butter and a plate of crumbled white Lor cheese. We ate these with big puffed-up rounds of flatbread, straight from the wood-fired oven, and thought we’d arrived in heaven. This is our version of the pepper paste – it is quite chilli-hot, so a little goes a long way. Serve it on warm flatbread with chilled unsalted butter and Lor cheese. If you can’t get hold of Lor, then another crumbly white cheese, such as Wensleydale or a mature goat’s cheese, will do nicely.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 red capsicums, left whole
3 long red chillies, deseeded
1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
2 tablespoons shredded mint leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 spring onions, finely diced
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
vegetable oil, to seal

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with foil.
  2. Roast the capsicums for 10 minutes, by which time they should be starting to brown. Turn them over in the tray and add the long red chillies. Roast for a further 10 minutes, or until the skins of both capsicums and chillies are blistered and charred. Be careful not to let the chillies dry out too much. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  3. When cool enough to handle, peel away the skins from the capsicums and pull out the seeds and membranes. Roughly chop the capsicums and tip into the bowl of a food processor. Use a sharp knife to scrape the flesh of the chillies away from their skins – this is easier than trying to peel them. Add the chilli flesh to the food processor, together with the remaining ingredients. Pulse, in short bursts, to a fairly smooth puree, then taste and adjust the balance of salt and lemon if necessary.
  4. Spoon the paste into a sterilised jar and cover the surface with a thin film of flavourless oil. If you’re not eating it straight away, store in the fridge where it will keep for up to 1 week.
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